My first films...advice appreciated :)

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by PeteNoone, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. PeteNoone

    PeteNoone Member

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    I have recently purchased a Pentax k1000, and a P30n. I shot 4 films, 3 kentmere 400 b&w and 1 Fomapan b&w. I am aware i have a lot to learn, and am the definition of an amateur photographer. Therefore i wasn't sure what to expect, but nevertheless the results disappointed me. This may somewhat be down to the results i have seen from other people using the same cameras as me. I don't know whether or not the unsatisfactory results were down to me (i did use one of the kentmere 400s on a sunny day), the film, something to do with the cameras, or the photo lab i used. A few slides were blank white, and a few had parts whited out. A lack of quality, and sharpness is also apparent. If anyone could shed some light, in the form of friendly advice or even recommending a helpful book/article to help me understand better, it could be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers, Pete
    (the photos attached are examples of above problems)
     

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  2. stevebarry

    stevebarry Member

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    are these negative or print scans? Done by you or the lab? looks mostly like terrible scans to me
     
  3. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    They look like bad scans to me. That, and those two films can be very grainy/contrasty depending on developer, etc. Don't go cheap on film. There's better places to save money.
     
  4. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    Could you also describe your metering and shooting technique? Photo 4-5 need a yellow or orange filter to bring more definition to the skies and photo 3 is a light leak, possibly in the camera. Did you develop yourself or a lab?
     
  5. Arctic amateur

    Arctic amateur Member

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    Judging by the size of the dust threads, these are negative scans, and according to the EXIF info they're done with a Fuji Frontier SP-3000 minilab scanner.

    At first glance the grain is quite terrible and also looks smeared. I suspect an incorrectly configured scanner - perhaps infrared dust removal was switched on, or excessive grain smoothing was applied.

    If you can, try to do some scans yourself with dust removal, grain removal & sharpening switched off, and see if you get better results. (Or even better, optical prints, if you have access to a darkroom.) 100 & 400 ISO films should be capable of better than this.

    If photo 3 is the first shot on a roll, it could simply be fogging from when you inserted the film.
     
  6. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Technical issues aside for a moment, I really like your compositions in frames #2 and #4.

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Look good too me!

    Jeff
     
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    The scans do look pretty rough, but I like the compositions and the exposures seem good; I'd say you're off to a fine start. It's hard to tell if the negatives really are unsharp or if it's just the scans. What lenses are you using?

    -NT
     
  9. PeteNoone

    PeteNoone Member

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    They were developed by ds colour labs. I don't really know my shooting technique.. Amateur remember! Could anyone recommend a good colour film? And if possible a good UK lab?
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Yep, looks like he has a good eye.

    Pete, do you have an instruction manual for your camera? Also, what is a "P30n"?
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Fuji Superia, Kodak Gold, any of the pro films. Labs?

    For B&W Ilford Delta 400 and Kodak TMax 400 are great. Ilford has their own lab in the UK for B&W.

    As to shooting and metering, I'd suggest using a nice incident meter and shooting at box speed. Takes the guess work out of the equation.
     
  12. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Yep, I agree they are nice shots!
    He is referring to the Pentax P30N, an SLR from the middle 80s. It is the P3n in the US.

    Pete
    I use http://www.snapsphotoservices.com/ They are very good, fast and cheap. They are based in Bournemouth, UK.
    You can see here samples of Fomapan developed and scanned by them on the Flickr page of this chap: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris10585/
    For some reading, any book from the 80s and 90s about general photography or 35mm photography should do. You might be able to find in your local library books by Michael Busselle.
    If you don't have the manuals, here you can see them in PDF format: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/pentax.htm

    Kentmere and Fomapan might be on the cheap side, but they are good films. Foma has improved production quality and a new base film in the last year. You can find Fomapan 100 at £2.60 a roll with Silverprint and for Kentmere the cheapest is around £32.00 for a pack of 10 rolls with Discount Films direct. They are good and reputable companies operating for many years.

    Pete,
    Amateur only means you don't make money out of it. It doesn't mean you aren't an artist or a knowledgeable chap!
    Enjoy your photography!
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    "Amateur" comes from a Latin root meaning "love". It means you do it because you love to. It says nothing about level of skill, etc.
     
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  15. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    Agreed, these are terrible scans or you have very old, expired, stored next to a heater film. Can't help you on the labs, but I suggest you buy a yellow K2 filter (shouldn't be very much) to make the clouds stand out better on the sky. The third picture is still a light leak (somewhere, either in the camera, in loading or in processing, light is getting to the film) but unless it shows up repeatably, it is very difficult to track down. If it is in the camera, it will be on multiple frames; if it is in the loading/unloading, it usually affect first or last couple of frames; if it is in the lab, it will show up a random times and switching labs will confirm.

    Amateur, from the French for "lover of". I have been shooting for 25 years and consider myself an amateur.
     
  16. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    Your last beach image is wonderful! I really like the composition, and as a serendipitous mistake, the grain works... at least it does for me! For some reason, I saw your photograph, and I was reminded of Vettriano's "The Singing Butler" for some reason...

    Keep with it! The lab screwed you, thats all. Id assume the negs are fine.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  17. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I would say there is not a lot wrong with the content of your photos, but the development and scanning looks a bit ropey to me.

    Unless you have an attachment to 'real' B&W film, you could try out Kodak BW400CN or Ilford XP2 Super, both are black and white films, but process as colour (C41) films. They are both contrasty and high resolution, and as they process as C41, any lab can process them, and the process is fixed, not really open to interpretation, so there is less to go wrong.
     
  18. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Yes, it comes from "amat" as in "Julia Romeo amat", if my Latin is any good!
     
  19. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    This is indeed very good suggestion. Shooting at box speed with incident meter reading.
     
  20. mauro35

    mauro35 Member

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    In my opinion, they look like very badly scanned. I once had experience of similar coarse and smeared grain when using a very (but I mean VERY, VERY) old bottle of Rodinal, that was even left partly open, so I guess it had gone bad. This is to say that it also makes me think about a nearly exhausted developer. I am an amateur and beginner too, starting black and white photography, so I am saying this based only on my personal experience and not thorough testing. But I really like your photos and wish you to find the culprit and improve your technique.
     
  21. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I use Agfa Vista+ from Poundland mostly. Not the world's greatest film but made by Fuji and more than adequate. AG Photographic develop and scan films at quite a reasonable price (£3.99 for development and £2.99 for a scan to CD).

    I agree the actual pictures are fine - just the dirty scans letting you down.
     
  22. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    My vote for a uk lab for colour is http://www.photo-express.co.uk/. They develop and do good scans at 6Mp from 35mm for £4.50 a film. No problem with quality and fast turnaround. As for film recommendation - any top brand film is good. Photo-express don't do B&W or 120. Ilford's own B&W lab gets excellent recommendations. For B&W its really easy to develop your own - you don't need a darkroom for neg developing - just a dark space/changing bag to load the reels/tank. You can get decent scans from Epsons sub £100 scanner with the film attachment - although scanning is tedious and darkroom with an enlarger is fun.
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I liked the framing with the arch in #1. #2 and #4 show good composition skills are starting. I would suggest that you use a yellow or orange filter for a few black & white rolls to see how they will change things for you.

    The Scans have been discussed, so I will not comment on them.
     
  24. pstake

    pstake Member

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    LIke a lot of people said, they look like bad scans. The Scanner you described sounds like a minilab-type. My experience with those is that a lot has to do with the the care of its operator. If the person who develops and scans your film takes his/her time and tries to get the best possible negatives and scans (scans will never be super-great), then you will be happy with the results. If he or she is in a hurry because of so many orders, or just doesn't care or doesn't know how to oeprate the machine, then you might get bad results.

    If you took a photo of your negatives against a white background (even an iPhone photo), we could probably tell you to a greater or lesser degree whether the problem was the scanning or your exposure.

    I've got crap scans from those machines before and come home and taken a look at the negatives and felt relieved because the negatives were just fine.
     
  25. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I will echo what pstake said. I take colour films to Snappy Snaps in Lincoln and they do an excellent job. Twice I have had them do reversal films for me which they cannot do in Lincoln - they send them to their central facility and the quality is dreadful: scratches in the emulsion, enough hair to make a bald man happy, loads of dust . . .
     
  26. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi Pete,

    what you need is one silver gelatin print - and then you will not be disappointed any more. Bad scan leads to comparison with digital and disappointment - but when you will hold one nice fiber based print from your negative in your hands - you will know what is this "using film" all about. You will hold it in your hands and say: "I made this" :smile:. My first silver gelatin print on FB double weight mat paper was done by one lab - after that I realized that scans are just thumbnails - and I got myself enlarger.

    cheers,